Whenever you pass on a nugget of arcane trivia you pick up at this center of all things Olympian, you'll be obliged to preface it with: ¿Contrary to popular belief¿¿ The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has crafted a record-straightening trove of facts: Did you know that the first women's marathon was held at the 1984 games in Los Angeles? Or that there was no torch relay at the ancient Olympic Games? The site even features a blog from the 2004 games in Athens. For the real gossip behind the Bob Costas gloss, park your chariot right here.
The Bradshaw Foundation
In 1891 Joseph Bradshaw and his brother were lost in the Kimberley region of Australia after discovering cave paintings determined to be more than 17,000 years old, roughly contemporary to the paintings in the famous French cave of Lascaux. The Bradshaw Foundation Web site is devoted to capturing vivid photos of some of the most famous cave art in the world, including African and Bolivian rock art, the temples of Malta and Gozo, and of course the French caves and the Bradshaw paintings themselves. Many of the sections include Macromedia presentations of the art, slideshows, and first-person audio narration, and all have extensive textual explanations offering historical facts as well as recent developments concerning the art on view.
The Paleontology Portal
Traverse America as never before at this beautiful, extensively cross-referenced paleo-extravaganza. In the Time & Space section, use a contour map of the country as your touchstone to explore each state during any time period from the Precambrian to the Quaternary and everything in-between. Visit the Fossil Gallery: Were there dinosaurs living where you park your car? How old is that bacteria in the tub really? In addition, the site features a section on starting careers in paleontology, a guide to famous national fossil sites and the laws pertaining to fossil collecting in the U.S. in case that shard of terra cotta in the backyard turns out to be your ticket to ride.
Kennewick Man on Trial
Dig into the debate surrounding Kennewick Man, whose skull was found in Washington State in 1996. Determined to be about 9,300 years old (making his one of the oldest and most complete skeletons found in the Americas), his so-called ¿Caucasoid¿ remains have spurred a vigorous battle between anthropologists and Native Americans, touching on topics of law, race, culture and etymology--specifically what it truly means to be ¿native¿ and ¿American.¿ Kennewick Man's crucial remains are locked up in the Burke Museum in Seattle pending further litigation. In the meantime, the museum maintains a gripping site detailing the questions and mysteries surrounding the battle over the bones.
Voyage up the Nile at the British Museum's beautiful and easily navigated Egyptian Web presence. Sophisticated and educational, visitors can choose their own adventures as they journey through a typical day in ancient times, play a round of Senet (a popular Egyptian board game), measure the dimensions of the Great Pyramid of Khufu and role-play working as an Egyptologist, identifying artifacts in a museum. The budding historian is certain to find just the right activity to strut his inner Tut--whether it be reading up on pharaohs and mummies, or going deeper with a huge assortment of engaging interactive challenges.
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